This article was originally published on CurlzandtheCity.com.
Every now and again, we hard-working city girls need a vacation. So two months ago I packed my bags, turned off my work phone, grabbed my passport and headed to Morocco for two glorious weeks.
I rode camels across the golden sands of the Sahara Desert. I got lost in towns with streets only wide enough for people and donkeys to walk though. I traversed the great Atlas Mountains. I explored the beauty of the rich textiles and brightly colored mosaics Morocco is known for. I was proposed to by more than a few strange, yet very kind and sweet men. To sum it up…I LIVED!
As I prepped for my trip, I debated about what I wanted to do with my hair. I considered Havana twists for a while so I wouldn’t have to fuss over my hair at all, but I really wanted some pictures of me in the Motherland with my tapered curly crop I love so much. Since my wash & go’s usually last about 5-7 days, I was in search of a way to stretch my ‘do’ the remaining week of my trip without having to take up space in my suitcase with a blow dryer, diffuser or hair products.
Days before my departure, I stumbled upon fellow Harlem-ite and head wrap designer Paola Mathe of FANM DJANM (which stands for ‘strong woman’) at the pop-up Sugar Hill Market. She was displaying her new collection of African print headwraps and as I approached her booth, gazing at the beautiful fabrics displayed on the table, Paola greeted me with a smile and spun me around to try some different wrap styles on my crown.
THE LOVELY PAOLA TRIES SOME HEADWRAPS ON ME AT SUGAR HILL MARKET (PHOTO: FINDING PAOLA)
She wrapped the scarves so effortlessly, creating works of arts on my head so stunning it made even me do a double take at myself in the mirror. I had found THE PERFECT solution for my hair maintenance while abroad. I snapped up two different wraps in versatile prints that could be worn many ways and headed out for Morocco.
My headwraps were a huge hit among the locals and tourists alike in Morocco. Paola got my creative juices revved up so much during our mini wrap session back home that I found ways to make headwraps out of other scarves I had brought with me on my trip that I only planned to wear as neck-scarves or cover ups.
Think about the laziest person you know. I don’t know who popped into your mind, but I immediately thought of myself. When it comes to getting dressed, I wish I had a personal glam squad to help me get ready every morning. Don’t get me wrong, I love how I look when I’m all composed, but I’ll be the first to admit that I am less than thrilled about how much time it takes to transform myself from “Oh, god!” to “beauty goddess.” For me, it’s not doing my makeup that’s the issue-- it is doing my hair. I swear my hair is out to sabotage me and my social schedule. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big event or something as simple as a Girl’s Night In, my hair refuses to cooperate with me on a regular basis. As someone with minimal patience, and a busy schedule, I can't devote a million hours to washing, conditioning, drying, applying product and styling my hair - it just can’t happen. Some days, I need my face, hair and outfit to look decent without having to put out a whole lot of effort. So in an attempt to help out all my lazy girls (mainly myself, Hair Offender #1), here is a list of hairstyles that are the perfect mashup of cute and convenient.
We all love a ponytail. Typically known as the quick fix for a workout session or a bad hair day, this style has taken a fabulous turn into fun and fast hairstyling. The new pony is all about looking full, so spruce up your typical slick pony by adding texture. Fluff up the crown of your head to create volume or section off pieces and twist them around your ponytail for a more bulky effect. When trying to achieve this style, think poofy hair, but not Snookie poofy.
Before this popular look ripped the runways, it was the hidden hairstyle we all rocked at home while washing our face. Well now the secret’s out, and women all over are embracing this trendy, unstructured high chignon. Instead of the typical “grab, wrap and fluff” technique typically used, add a french braid to the back of your head to show a lil effort and showcase a lot of style.
Braids aren’t just for elementary school children, and they definitely don’t have to look like they are. Take a grown-up adaptation on this classic by side sweeping your hair to one side before taking 3 strands and liberally braiding them together. Try to keep the illusion of a pigtail without having the definition (the more strands that don’t make the braid, the better). Not really a braided lady in the streets? No worries; tightly braid your hair at night and undo them in the morning for relaxed waves before you go on your way.
When all else fails, lazy girls know to grab a hair accessory, throw it on and keep it pushin’. If your hair isn’t giving you problems and you just want to jazz up your ‘do, opt for an ornate headband that can turn even the most basic of hair days into a fancy affair. For semi cooperative hair, throw a bandana to an updo and go for a 50’s inspired style. For completely disobedient hair days, go for a hat, beanie or headwrap that fits your personality.
So there you have it ladies, a goof proof guide to hair styling that can fool people into thinking we actually have time to do our hair. What are some of your favorite lazy girl hairstyles?
Compliment a woman on her hair, and the response generally goes a little something like this: “Yeah? I wish it had more volume!” or “Ugh…I miss my long/short/medium-lengthed hair,” or even “It’s too…perfect. I want something edgier!” No matter what the texture, I venture to say that every woman has had their share of hair issues. Mine, growing up, were centered on finding someone who could deal with my naturally curly, über frizzy and (often) tangled -- mane. Instances like the day my 9-year-old self went swimming wearing a ponytail and subsequently stayed up all night with my mom cursing me and slathering conditioner on my matted hair to detangle it, race to mind. (Love you, Mom!)
Over the years, I’ve tried seemingly every hair product; from those in the “regular” aisle of the beauty supply, to the ones in the “ethnic” section -- sometimes a mix of all of ‘em. I’ve also tried a host of local salons in LA who specialize in curly hair styling. My hair has been relaxed, pressed, flat ironed, blown out, braided and re-curled by a variety of contraptions. Through all my experimentation -- coupled with new, innovative products and a culture that’s starting to embrace the hair’s natural state -- I’ve picked up a few tricks. My findings? The right resources, products and cut are essential to the health and beauty of your hair. And of course, I have to share my faves with my fellow curly girls.
“Knowledge is power.” This definitely applies to a Made Woman’s hair. I can’t over-stress the importance of educating yourself about your curls. Every curly hair product will not work on every curl! Are you Wavy, Curly, Curly Coily or Coily? What are the pattern, porosity, density, width and length of your curls? Chances are you have no clue. Naturally Curly will help you figure out your hair texture type; and their “Curltalk” forums, articles, photos and more will bring you that much closer to the curls of your dreams.
The “Queen of Curls,” Ouidad (yes, simply Ouidad), opened the first curly hair salon in the US in 1984. As a true curly hair pioneer, her website offers amazing resources for those of you looking to really define your ringlets. Use her “rake and shake” method to achieve the lustrous, perfectly-defined curls you crave. She also has a Curl Profiler to help determine what your hair needs to look its best. Check out more information on her salons below.
If you know me, you know I SWEAR by this line of products. These ladies helped me retire my flat iron and learn to embrace my natural hair. I felt so strongly about them that we had to profile them among our first Made Women of the Month! I’ve tried out other leave-in conditioners, but Mixed Chicks leaves my hair soft and touchable, while gently defining my curls. I love a slightly tousled, less perfect look; and this leave-in allows me to get the volume I love. I swear by their sulfate-free shampoo, deep conditioner and hair silk shine serum too!
I have used Miss Jessie’s Quick Curl Crème a few times, and I loved the smell and found it to be very moisturizing. While I personally prefer Mixed Chicks for my curls, I’ve heard great reviews from ladies with natural hair of various textures -- from thin and wavy to coarse and kinky. They also offer a slew of products, from puddings to meringues to baby butter crèmes. This is a great line to experiment with and find what works for your particular hair texture. They’re on the pricey side though, so try out their free samples first.
Ouidad Salon, Santa MonicaI first visited Ouidad Salon in Santa Monica a couple of years ago. With flagship salons in Santa Monica and New York City, all Ouidad certified stylists are trained in the trademarked “Carve and Slice” cutting technique that helps make hair a lot more manageable. Upon my visit my stylist, Morgan, introduced me to the “Rake and Shake” styling technique, which helped to really define my curls. As you can see from the photos below, Ouidad is a great option if you’re looking to cut out the frizz and get more of a “wet look.” The salon also offers a variety of treatments to suit your hair needs.
Batia and Aleeza Salon, Beverly Hills
After just one cut, Batia became my go-to gal for haircuts and styling. She has mad skills with the scissors, effortlessly chopping away while telling intriguing stories in her incredibly charming accent. Of Israeli descent, Batia’s curly hair knowledge (and that of her sister, Aleeza) comes from personal experience. I found her when I wanted a much shorter ‘do and a more tousled look, and she gave me just that (see below). I ended up with a cut that I could grow into: when she finished, she told me I didn’t need to come in for six months! I prefer a low-maintenance hair routine, so this was music to my ears.
No matter what type of curls you’re rocking, knowledge, the right products and the right cut are paramount. I hope this list will help you step away from the flat iron (at least sometimes!) and embrace your God-given curls.
Did I miss something? Let me know your favorite curly hair resources, salons and products in the comments below! And don't forget to enter our We <3 Curls Contest!
You know that feeling you get when you first leave the salon after a great haircut? The one where you want to run into everyone you know (especially exes) or maybe go out on the town and show it off? I bet you also know the feeling of walking out with a bad haircut as well, huh? Where you want to go buy Target’s entire selection of hats or maybe call in sick for a month? Well, if you want to avoid ever having that bad feeling again you should stick to cuts that flatter your face. By basing your cut on your face shape you can find what works best for you. Here is some celebrity style inspiration to help you figure out which is the best style for your face shape:
For a round face you want to find a style that elongates and slims. A simple mid-length bob with little volume is perfect. Also, a piecey pixie cut brings focus to your eyes and cheekbones. Ginnifer Goodwin wears this look perfectly.
If you want longer hair, long layers below the chin and wispy bangs elongate the face and add flattering angels. Zooey Deschanel shows a great way to style bangs to make your face look longer and more lean.
Quick Tip: Avoid center parts; they tend to emphasize a full forehead.
For a square face it’s best to find styles that downplay the sharp angles of the jawline. Long and straight hair with feathered bangs and light layers soften square angles. Beachy waves add depth and will bring focus to the layers and not to the jaw line. This look worn by Lea Michelle softens her sharp angles.
Quick Tip: Avoid heavy bangs that accentuate the square shape.
For an oval face you want to find a style that draws attention away from the long jawline. Center parts with curved bangs shorten the length of the face and the curve of the bang brings focus to the eyes. Just look at how the deep blue of Liv Tylers eyes are brought out by the cut.
Or maybe try a shaggy bob like Emily Blunt which looks great on longer faces.
Quick Tip: Avoid lots of layers because they will overpower natural angles and make the face look long.
For a heart-shaped face you want to focus attention downward, away from a full forehead. A chin length bob like with blunt bangs does this perfectly. Christina Ricci shows us exactly how it’s done.
Also, deep, low volume side parts like the one seen here on Reese Witherspoon accentuate the cheekbones without making the look feel too top-heavy.
Quick Tip: Avoid any style that brings the focus to a bare forehead such as a center part or harsh, choppy layers.
You heat it, you strip it, you dye it, you cut it. Every day your hair goes through major trauma. So what are the staples that you use to protect and care for your hair all year long? We asked our staff (since they always look so good) what their must-have hair care products are. No matter what your hair type, the products we use might be right for you too. Take a look:
Redken Smooth Down Butter Treatment: My hair is relaxed and I've been trying to grow it out. Redken allows me to easily comb my hair. – Brook Turner
ANTI.GRAVITY by Kevin Murphy: Smells AMAZING and gives my hair great volume for two to three days! Even in humidity. – Lindsey Jones
I really like Redken Clear Moisture shampoo and conditioner. I have very thick, naturally straight hair and it makes it so soft and light without adding the static most moisturizing shampoos do. – Lindsey Tewell
I love Oyin Handmade products for my hair. I have super thick hair and their products keep my hair moisturized and soft. – Nailah Blades
Hai Flat Iron. It always makes my hair smooth and instantly fixes a bad hair day. – Beth Livesay
Mixed Chicks. I have really curly hair and it's the only thing that can tame the frizz but keep my hair soft and touchable. Hard curls that lack body are not the biz. – Lindsey Day
My hair is fine and straight. I have to use conditioner, otherwise it's impossible to get a comb through it! I like Dove's line. – Amanda Szalasny
My hair is naturally kinky/curly and I style with tools that add heat, so I like Neutrogena Triple Moisture Cream Lather Shampoo because it hydrates my hair but gets it very clean. – Serena Watson
I have thin, curly/wavy hair so I need something good to define and hold curl shape. I swear by Curls Rock cream from Tigi. – Jessica Dumont
Have you tried any of the products we mentioned or know about a product you think works wonders? Tell us about your experience in the comment section below!
Winter has finally decided to arrive in LA (this week at least) and she brings with her much excitement. Can you say “holiday parties??” But with the change in weather comes a much needed change in your stock of beauty supplies. Yes, it's time to retire your summer suntan lotion and stock up on goodies that will keep you looking fresh and fabulous this holiday season.
Have your knee caps and hands become victims of that change in season ashiness? Shortage of moisture in the air during winter months can dry out your skin, which is why the most important thing you need in your beauty regimen right now is...moisturizer. I love Aveeno'’s Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer ($15.99) because it’'s lightweight but keeps my skin feeling soft and hydrated all day. It also comes with a SPF of 15 or 30 and is available with a tint. For all over body care I love Jergens Shea Butter Deep Conditioning Moisturizer ($7.49). These are both products you can purchase at any drugstore or mega, uber Target. #Tooeasy.
If you aren't doing a mask at home once a week you're doing your face a disservice. Try out Aveda's Tourmaline Charged Radiance Mask ($31). It's gentle but deep exfoliation removes dead skin and minimizes pores. This mask is great for adding a glow to your skin when winter weather makes skin look dull.
Your color palette may be a bit more muted in the winter but your make up doesn't have to be. Dior's Diorshow mascara ($24.50) can give your lashes a "ready for the runway" look. It adds volume, length and those who have tried it swear by it. Go ahead and throw this one in the bag.
Another tool you'll need is the perfect pencil. I like Lancome's Le Crayon Khol Waterproof Eyeliner with a smudger ($24.50). It glides on smoothly and the smudger tool helps create a sexy smokey eye.
Just like your skin, your hair can get dull and dry during the winter months. If that's the case for you, first off, drink more water. Secondly, add a shine serum to your hair care treatments. I just discovered these and they do so much to help my hair look healthier while protecting it from heat. I like Joico's K-Pak Protect and Shine Serum because it adds shine and moisture without my weighing hair down.
Adjusting your beauty supplies to suit the season is a must! It's also good to check the expiration dates on your make up and throw out anything old. Taking time out to update your supplies makes staying fresh and fly that much easier.
September 26, 2011
A couple of years ago I decided to cut off all of my hair. It had been relaxed for as long as I could remember, and I thought I’d have more options with hair that I could wear either curly and thick or straight. So I chopped it at the roots. It grew faster than it ever had. It was like silk when it was flat ironed, but when it wasn’t, nobody could tell me what to do with it. “You can either keep this… or we can put a relaxer in,” my hairdresser said to me almost twelve months along. As much as I wanted to avoid chemicals and keep my hair natural, I decided that it wasn’t worth sacrificing my appearance for the sake of it. I felt that there was no alternative to relaxers...until I discovered that I love Lulu.
A restored commitment to living a green lifestyle left me thinking about my hair. I started by changing my diet, and the next logical step was to stop putting chemicals that I couldn’t name on my head. The thought of them slowly seeping into my scalp made me cringe. While doing neighborhood errands one day, I walked by I Love Lulu, the self-described “growing green hair spa.” The cheerful, bright sign and steamer in the window caught my attention, and I realized that perhaps the solution to my hair care problems had always been just around the corner. I went inside, poured my heart out and booked an appointment – reassured that Lulu would fix everything.
Lulu Marcelin comes from a large family of creative individuals. This shows in the aesthetic of her shop, a contemporary spin on classic 1960’s décor. It looks like Renee Zellweger’s character from Down With Love is going to pop up from the shampoo bowl next to you, thanks to the artistic flare of one of Lulu’s sisters. The poetic rhymes of another sister, a writer, scroll across the walls, reminding you why you came: “Happy is the woman who … honors her hair.”
Knowing this, it’s not surprising that Lulu brought her own creative vision to hair care and styling. In fact, she will tell you that her business grew from two clear concepts. The first idea was to take fresh fruits, vegetables, natural herbs and oils and put them into hair in a quick and easy fashion, like “Jamba Juice for the hair.” The second piece came to her in a dream: ten steamers in a row. In the actual spa there is only room for nine - the tenth sits in the window on the street, representing Lulu’s dream to desperate passersby like myself. At first, people questioned these concepts, asking Lulu what would keep anyone from creating her personalized, organic treatments themselves, and why anyone would want to sit under a steamer when the purpose is to dry the hair. Lulu’s response was as simple and straightforward as her approach: “There is a professionally trained touch that needs to accompany the treatments in order for them to be as effective as possible.” She also pointed out that sucking the moisture out of hair with dryers is counter-intuitive, if you think about it. Using a steamer instead helps keep moisture locked in, resulting in smoother, conditioned hair.
The first time that I went to Lulu, I got a life. No, really - I received her “Get a Life” treatment. After diagnosing my hair’s medical condition (which she does at the beginning of each appointment), this was the treatment that she suggested. “Get a Life” is oil based and applied straight to the scalp. As Lulu parted my hair and applied the oil, she explained that the focus is often on putting oil onto the hair, which is already dead, rather than on the scalp, where your hair actually grows. She broke hair care down into common sense terms. It made a lot of sense, and I wondered why no one had simply told me these things before.
After the treatment was applied, I sat under the steamer to let the oil seep into my open pores. Usually, I loathe the dryer. I leave hot, tired, and annoyed, but Lulu’s steamers left me feeling moisturized and refreshed. I also thoroughly enjoyed the shampoo chairs, which are more like beds, where you can lay down without having to prop your head back into an unnatural position. Lulu had truly put thought into every element of her salon and designed a process that put emphasis on a healthy, rehabilitating experience rather than fighting hair’s nature by styling with chemical products. That’s not to say that Lulu can’t style hair though. After I looked at my finished head in the mirror, there was no looking back to other salons. Of course, nothing good comes without sacrifice. My hair is a bit more work than it once was, but Lulu’s words are always in my ear: “Take it. You’ll never regret it.” And I don’t.